Washington State men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith’s knack for scanning the globe to find talent has paid off again.
Solomon Ominu, a 6-foot-10 big man from Nigeria, became the Cougars’ first commit of the 2022 class on Wednesday when he pledged to join WSU’s basketball program, as first reported by 247Sports.com.
His commitment represents another in a recent string of recruiting wins for WSU. Ominu reportedly chose the Cougs over offers from Oklahoma and Memphis.
Ominu will be teaming up at WSU with fellow 6-10 Nigerian Efe Abogidi, a sophomore this year, and another Cougar from Africa in freshman Mouhamed Gueye – a Senegal native and the school’s No. 3 recruit of all time, who also stands 6-10.
Ominu will move to the United States this year and play this season for Bridgton Academy in Maine. According to 247Sports.com, he is one of the first Nigerian prospects to commit to a high-major program before playing in America.
He said WSU’s history of recruiting Nigerian players was enticing.
“Jeff Varem was a second scoring leader back in 2005. Ike Iroegbu was a starter for three years until graduation, and now with Efe making the Pac-12 All-Freshman team, it means a lot about how my fellow Nigerians flourish at WSU,” he told 247Sports.com.
Smith and his staff have been on a recruiting roll over the past two years, and WSU has steadily been attracting expectations.
“(Smith’s) talent identification and developing his young players with his coaching staff cannot be compared,” Ominu said. “(Assistant) John Andrzejek made me believe in myself and my ability with how well I fit into their style in (the) Pac-12 Conference. (That) made me love the program even more.”
He said he also settled on WSU as his preferred landing spot because of the school’s “academic standard and basketball tradition.”
“I believe they both can take me as far as I want to in my academics and basketball career,” he said.
Ominu can play multiple positions and, per 247Sports.com, is a fearsome rim protector with a considerable vertical and a sturdy frame.
Although it’ll take time for Ominu to develop an offensive skill set that fits the mold of the American game, he’ll provide another boost in length for the Cougars, who have been stocking up on big, versatile recruits in the past few years under Smith.
“I hope to bring a lot on the court to Washington State,” Ominu said, “but specifically, I will be bringing my energy, intensity, defense, and rebounding in addition to my scoring ability. I am an enforcer, motivator, and will bring my energetic game and level to light up the arena with our fans. I love what other people do not like to do by guarding the best player on the opposing teams.”
There isn’t much online information available on Ominu, who has not received a national rating.
But it appears he played for the Hot Coal Ballers in the Abuja City Basketball League against some of the best prep players in Nigeria. Publication “9ja Hoops” named Ominu its No. 1 small forward of the Abuja City Basketball League Tournament on Tuesday.
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